July 27, 2013 by Alice in Readerland
If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.
With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.
Special thanks to Bloomsbury/Walker Childrens and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. Taste Test arrives in stores August 27th, 2013.
Note: Since this book is about a reality-television competition, I’ll be reviewing this book TV announcer/host style. Because, why not?
Over in this corner for the Pro-Taste Test Team, we have the recipes! The recipes, ladies and gentlemen, the recipes! The back of this book includes recipes that the characters cooked in the story, including Coffee-Cocoa-Cayenne Dry Rub and Three-Chili Macaronic and Cheese, Red Peper Pasta, and Spicy Fajita Casserole! Doesn’t just the sound of those recipes make your mouth water?
Another factor keeping this book from being eliminated is the author’s fun writing style! What was a stand-out in the writing style, you ask? At the beginning or end of almost every chapter, the author either included a form or an TV interview (written out in dialogue/script form) which our audience found to be most entertaining! The writing style even went over big with one of our judges, who stated “The main character, Nora, had a fun, slightly sarcastic voice. She was also pretty grounded in that she knew who she was, knew where she came from, and she wasn’t going to change.”
In the Bonus Point Round, this book proved itself by bringing out that acting is hard work. There’s talk of endless adjustments, retakes, and of always having to hit your proper mark and remember your blocking. Finally! As someone who’s acted before, and ahem, is obviously hosting this show now, I’ve been waiting for a book to finally bring that point out! Thank you! There’s a ton of work onstage and offstage when putting on a show.
Now let’s hear from our most critical commenter, our most persnickety person, the girl who thinks Grumpy Cat is her kindred spirit: Cynical Cindyyyyyy
Cynical Cindy Says
The last sentence of the Taste Test synopsis advertises romance and intrigue. I was disappointed by both. Let’s start with the love interest, Christian. Within the first few chapters, he purposely let the door fly back to practically smash Nora on the forehead, right after bashing her home roots and right before insinuating that she was coming on to him. Christian continued to blow hot-and-cold throughout the whole book, which drove me nuts. I also expected more of a mystery with the “mysterious accidents.”
The end verdict, ladies and gentleman? This book definitely had it’s good and bad points. But: did it keep me entertained while reading it? Definitely. Am I planning on trying out the recipes in the back of the book? You betcha! So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a light read, are a fan of books with recipes or books that talk about reality TV, then you should try out Taste Test!
This concludes out program. Goodnight and tune in next week!